'There is a frenzy currently': This is why it's a tough market for buying cars

For the first time, vehicles are appreciating in value, sometimes as you're driving them off the lot.


Along with a booming housing market, many people looking for a new vehicle are finding there are few deals to be had on the buying end.

For the first time, vehicles are appreciating in value, sometimes as you're driving them off the lot.

If you've been in the market for a car recently, then you know all too well that the used-car market is on fire with many, if not all, cars going on sale for well over blue book value.

Business is booming for Floris Chaumat, general manager of Executive Motorcars in Randallstown, Maryland.

"If you see a car here today, it's gone in less than 30 days," Chaumat said. "There is a frenzy currently, a low supply and a lot of demand. So business has been great. I can't complain."

Chaumat said what has helped fuel the frenzy, as he calls it, is people trading in their cars are getting more for them than what they paid, enabling them to upgrade to a better car.

"Now, you're seeing people who bought a car a year ago, six months ago, coming back and their car is worth more than what they paid for it six months ago. (I) never thought that would happen," Chaumat said.

Zach and Ray Shefska are founders of Your Auto Advocate, a website, YouTube channel and podcast that helps people who are looking to buy a car. They are floored by what they're seeing.

"It's the first time in my lifetime where automobiles have suddenly become an appreciating asset," Ray Shefska said.

Ray Shefska, who has 43 years of experience in the auto industry, told sister station WBAL the main reason for the hot market is new car shortages, which then causes shortages of used cars.

"Between chip shortages, phone shortages and rubber shortages, the manufacturers are unable to keep their plants going at a full-time level," Ray Shefska said.

Another issue? Industry insiders said the online used car company Carvana is overpaying on every car they can get their hands on, putting a further strain on the market.

"One of the big things that a lot of people don't know is you make money on the back end of a car deal, so by placing the loan or selling an extended warranty, and Carvana's whole business model is they need inventory," Zach Shefska said.

So what's the best strategy if you're looking for a car? The Shefkas say the best options are to wait, or buy or lease new. And if you want to go used, you'll just have to negotiate a little differently.

"One way you can actually get a little bit of leverage in this market is inspect the vehicle, especially a used vehicle before you buy it. (For example,) 'Hey, the tire has low tread depth. Great, replace them and then I'll purchase it,'" Zach Shefska said.